Corey Tropp sat on top of the boards in front of the vistor's bench at the Sports Centre at Monroe Community College in Rochester. His face was expressionless and red and his skates dangled around aimlessly. The rest of the Rochester Americans players were down at the other end of the ice practicing their power play skills, but Tropp didn't look that way. He just stared straight forward and tried to catch his breath.
Minutes before, the 23-year-old had been pushing himself to complete a series of drills. One of the Amerks' assistant coaches would pass him the puck, then he would make a sharp move and dart toward then net and smack the puck past a phantom goalie. Over and over. Clack, smack, click, splash. Then the winger would glide toward center ice for a breather, spin around quickly and do it again.
For the past six months, this has been Tropp's life in hockey. Instead of practicing with the club and worrying about wins and losses or goals and assists, his only focus has been on the process of recovering from an ACL tear – an injury that usually ends a hockey player's season.
“Sometimes you might forget how much you appreciate this game and being able to play and sometimes you take it for granted. You learn to really appreciate it.”
Tropp is doing more and more on the ice at practice now, even participating with teammates on some drills. It's too early to tell whether he'll be back this season. Listen to doctors, keep working, listen to doctors, keep working, hope for the best. That's all he can do. And remember to appreciate it when he does come back.
Edited by Robviously, 08 March 2013 - 03:22 PM.